Real men do not rape, real men treat women with respect, is the succinct message of Samantha Stendal’s video that has gone viral with more than a million hits on YouTube.
A University of Oregon film student felt compelled to respond to some of the issues surrounding the Steubenville rape case.
Samantha Stendal, a sophomore film student at the University of Oregon, gathered a few friends to act in her anti-rape public service announcement, “A Needed Response,” after the high-profile trial of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, who were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl.
“It is horrifying to me that some people can say that people deserve rape when they are passed out,” shared Stendal.
“I was studying for my finals and on the side I was reading about the Steubenville rape case. I grew very frustrated with the media,” Stendal told NBC News Tuesday. “That’s when I came up with the idea for this video.”
“I just wanted something positive out there,” Stendal told the Daily News, “especially after there had been so many negative responses and people going directly to victim blaming.”
In Stendalâ€™s 26-second long video, a woman (Kelsey Jones) pretends to be passed out and a man (Justin Gotchall) gets her some water and places a pillow under her head.
“Hey bros, check who passed out on the couch. Guess what I’m gonna do to her,” the man says, before he places a pillow under her head, tucks her in with a blanket and places a mug of water beside her for when she wakes up.
Then he kneels down in front of the camera and explicitly states the video’s core message: “Real men treat women with respect.”
“We all need to treat one another like decent human beings,” Stendal said. “My video was a direct response to the Steubenville rape case.
“But even though my video is of a guy and girl, I want it to relate to anyone. No matter what your gender, you should treat one another with respect.”
Gotchall, who is a philosophy major, added, “After we saw the media coverage of the Steubenville rape cases we just had to do this.”
The video, addressed to “the Steubenville rapists … or any rapists out there,” was recorded on March 20. Two days later, Stendal uploaded it to YouTube.
Stendalâ€™s friend Aaron Blanton, who helped create the video in his apartment, was surprised that it went viral, because he did not think their message was anything new or extraordinary.
“It just seemed like common sense,” Blanton said. “But the fact that it did go viral shows that this apparently is a conversation that needs to be had in this country.”
Last week, Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays and Maâ€™lik Richmond were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at a raucous house party in the small Ohio town.
The story had already made headlines because of the issues surrounding the case like social media harassment, and teenage partying one wild.
But media coverage following the convictions generated even more controversy and angered many when some reporters seemed to focus on the loss of the two football playersâ€™ bright future – and not on the victimâ€™s trauma.